• PCSO sets probe of Albay STL operator ambush


    LEGAZPI CITY: A week after the fatal shooting of a Small Town Lottery (STL) operator in Albay, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will conduct its own investigation to find out the motive for the ambush.

    Alexander Balutan, PCSO general manager, in a statement sent to The Manila Times said the PCSO will look into the case of Alex Herman Alemania, chairman of Lucky V Prime Enterprises, an Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC), to find out if the attack had anything to do with the STL.

    Alemania died on Monday while being treated at the Albay Doctor’s Hospital for a bullet wound in the stomach, while his female companion survived the ambush.

    “The summons is part of the investigation of the agency on what is really the root of the incident. This also aims to settle whatever intra-corporate dispute they may have. If the dispute within Lucky V has something to do with this, the PCSO wants it to stop,” Balutan said.

    He added that the PCSO is not discounting the possibility of internal disputes taking place within the Lucky V Prime Enterprises operation here.

    “If the result of the investigation shows that the ambush was due to the internal dispute, they have to settle it immediately or PCSO may be forced to take appropriate action against the corporation. It may lose its authorization,” Balutan said.

    The PCSO official added that his office is very strict when it comes to internal disputes among its AACs and will not hesitate to revoke their contract if the dispute is not settled immediately as this would directly affect the operation of expanded STL in the province.

    Earlier, the agency threatened to stop Lucky V Prime from its STL operation over its failure to meet the remittance obligations since it started operation last May over an internal problem and misunderstanding among its stakeholders.

    “If this continues, we will be forced to cancel its permit and hold another bidding to find another licensee,” Balutan said.

    After the ambush last Wednesday, Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara ordered the stop of STL operation in the province.

    “The shootout has something to do with the STL operation. This is not acceptable. They should leave our province and do business somewhere else because we don’t want the Albayanos to be victimized by these gamblers who bring war to Albay,” Bichara told journalists during a media briefing last Thursday.

    “We will ask President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the STL operations for creating chaos in the province and also for not remitting the P70-million monthly shares intended for the government’s coffers,” he said.

    Chief Insp. Arthur Gomez, Albay police provincial office spokesman, said gun-for-hire suspects Marlon Magsino and Michael Malveda opened fire at Alemania who was about to board his van at the parking lot of Ayala Mall here with Querobin Anne Marie Lagman, 24, and several other companions.

    Magsino, of Barangay San Andres in Malvar, Batangas, died in the firefight with Legazpi City police while Malveda, of Barangay San Lucas in Lipa City, survived with injuries.

    Alemania died on Monday at Albay Doctors Hospital five days after the attack.


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